When worship is mentioned in scripture, it is less about singing, and more about humility and bowing down. It is a physical expression of love and adoration.
Worship in Scripture:
The meaning of the Hebrew word for worship “shachah” [שָׁחָה] is “to bow down”
26 Then the man bowed down and worshiped the LORD,
6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
2 Chronicles 20:18.
18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD.
Falling down (forward) before the Lord in worship is also found in the New Testament
Revelation 11:16. (also Revelation 7:11)
16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God,
The New Testament has several Greek words for worship. One of them “Proskuneo” means to come toward and kiss / kneel (Matt 2:2) and another “Latreuo” also means to serve (Rom 12:1). There is also a word “doxa” meaning glory (Rom 11:36) and so worship is to glorify our Lord.
So we can see that “to worship” is so much more than just singing.
We worship God because:
- It is an expression of the greatest commandment, to Love God. (Matthew 22:37)
- He is the amazing eternal self-existent Creator God.
- He is Jesus, the God from heaven, born a human, the fulfillment of the Word of promise, a humble servant and the lamb of God that took away our sin who will rule and reign for all eternity.
- He is completely and utterly trustworthy.
- He is our savour. He chose to give up his divinity as God and become human like us with human frailty, to suffer and die to redeem us from death and give us the gift of salvation. It was a sacrifice beyond our human understanding. One day we will see our Lord and Saviour who still carries very the very human scars of the crucifixion and we will wonder at such redemptive love from such an incredible God.
Worship in the believer’s life
Sunday morning worship is a time of worship which should reflect a life of worship lived through the week. Worship is a physical expression of a humble heart which can be expressed in a number of ways in our daily lives:
- When we read scripture, wanting to dig deeper, we are actually worshipping the Lord for John 1 tells us that Jesus is the Word and the Word is God.
- Our prayer life is part of our worship life. This may include praying on our bended knees or laying face down on the floor before Him.
- When we desire to walk in obedience to Him, it is an expression of worship.
- When we serve Him, it is an expression of worship.
“Worship is a believing heart’s response to the work of the Holy Spirit, not an emotional response to the quality of the music.” – Matthew Westerholm
Many of the Psalms are full of worship: eg Psalm 92. They are a great way to focus our heart on God.
Some things to think about in church worship
- Have you noticed that God is very “other-centered”? The Father glorifies the Son, The Son glorifies the Father and the Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus. This other-centredness should reflect in our lives toward God and others. It is also interesting that nowhere in scripture is the Holy Spirit worshipped, although worshipping God will include the Holy Spirit.
- Some church songs focus on “us” and who we are in Christ rather than who Christ is. We need to have the heart of John the Baptist who said: “He must increase, I must decrease”. John 3:30. To worship is to focus on God.
- We worship God because he is God, not because it gives us a “nice experience”.
- Even when life is difficult, it is a blessing to worship. In other words, it will be part of your answer as to how to navigate through those difficult life situations.
Choose to live a life of worship understanding that worship is more about humility and bowing down than about singing.
Choose to make Sunday worship of God as part of a life of worship, 7 days of the week expressed in multiple ways.